Ryanair has published a full list of the thousands of flights it has cancelled up until the end of October.
The no-frills airline – facing an ongoing barrage of bad headlines – has revealed the 2,024 services to be axed over the next six weeks, leaving the travel plans of up to 400,000 passengers in chaos.
More than 200 of the cancelled flights are either into or out of London Stansted, at least 150 from or to Dublin, with a handful in Edinburgh, Manchester and Birmingham also affected.
Across Europe, Rome, Milan, Brussels and Barcelona airports will also see a significant number of flights, either or in or out, cancelled.
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said “only” 2% of passengers had been caught up in the “cock-up”, chiefly blamed on changes to the pilots’ holiday rota which has left the airline desperately short of cover.
He said: “This is our mess-up. When we make a mess in Ryanair we come out with our hands up.
“We try to explain why we’ve made the mess and we will pay compensation to those passengers who are entitled to compensation, which will be those flights that are cancelled over the next two weeks.”
O’Leary also stressed that anyone whose flight was scheduled to take off after that two-week period would not be entitled to compensation – although they should get a refund for the cost of their flight, under EU law.
“We will not pay for flights on other airlines, no. It is not part of the EU261 entitlement,” he said, referring to European passenger rights legislation.
The full list of cancelled flights can be found on the Ryanair website, here.
The airline is believed to have set aside €20m to cover the various compensation claims it expect as travellers are forced to stay longer in hotels, pay for more food etc.
However, analysts at Dublin-based Goodbody Stockbrokers estimated the cancellations would cost the airline about €34.5 million – comprising €23.5 million, €6.3 million in lost fees, and €4.7 million in subsistence such as meals, drinks and accommodation.
Goodbody said that would shave 2.3% off its full-year forecast of €1.479 billion in profit after tax.
Consumer champion Martin Lewis, of MoneySavingExpert.com, described the mess as potentially a “Ratner moment” – referring to the infamous jeweller Gerald Ratner who destroyed his company’s reputation by telling the world it sold “total crap”.
“So the damage to its brand is going to be huge,” said Lewis. “Anyone affected will think twice before booking with Ryanair – others will be more likely to fly with another airline if there is not much difference in price.”
— Louise Cooper (@Louiseaileen70) September 19, 2017
Social media has been deluged with tales of woe from stranded travellers and others whose wedding plans have been ruined. Many have vowed never to go near Ryanair again.
And Ryanair’s rivals have moved swiftly to try to cash in on the ill-feeling. The likes of easyJet and British Airways took out major advertisements in national newspapers and online to push ‘flash sales’ of cheap seats on flights over the next six weeks.